8 Bi3 比
The lower: Kun1 (submissiveness, earth). The Upper: Kan (the abyss, water).
Bi: (to build) an intimate and interdependent relationship (for mutual assistance in a prudent and opportune way).
Gathering multitudes (Shi) entail intimate and close relationships; therefore Bi is granted. Bi signifies an intimate and interdependent relationship as depicted by the two Chinese characters 匕sitting together with the same desire, which here mainly refers to an interpersonal relationship. Bi is the reverse hexagram of Shi; Bi of hexagram 8 will create happiness, while Shi of hexagram 7 will create worry, as it is related to war.
The lower trigram Kun1 is earth and the upper trigram Kan is water. Earth is moistened by water becoming wet and suitable for sprouting and growing, while water is able to flow freely onto the ground and form streams, one next to the other, eventually becoming a river. All these are phenomena of intimate and interdependent relationships in terms of mutual assistance.
In ancient times, hexagram Bi mainly referred to the political relationships of dukes, or the relations between monarch and subject. Currently it is more reflective of commercial activity, especially as regards common interests. Therefore hexagram Bi can refer to political coalitions as well as commercial cooperation.
The inner hexagram of Bi is Bo (23), to peel off. Therefore hexagram Bi requires intimate interdependence to form a union. Its changing hexagram is Da You (14), abundant possessions; after an intimate and interdependent relationship is established, the union will become strong and abundant. Conversely, as Bi is the changing hexagram of Da You, abundant possessions shared by everyone will encourage them to build intimate and interdependent relationships.
Text: 比：吉。原(trace back to the fountainhead)筮(divination)元永貞，无(no)咎。不(not)寧(willing)方(just)來(come)，後(fall behind)夫(man)凶。
Bi (intimate interdependence): It is of auspiciousness, but It requires divining twice (or divining very prudently). Bi must possess origination (which is regarded as the fountain of goodness, i.e. benevolence, when referring to virtue) and everlasting as well as persistence in righteousness (元永貞), which assures no calamity (or fault). Those not steadfast with Bi will then come for Bi; it is ominous for one to come late.
Commentary on the text: Bi (intimate interdependence): It is of auspiciousness. Bi signifies mutual assistance like a side beam nailed onto a carriage, wherein those below are submissive in following. It requires divining twice (or divining very prudently). Bi must possess origination, everlasting and persistence, which assures no calamity (or fault). This is because the one of rigidity (i.e. line 5, the host line) occupies the middle position of the upper trigram where the principle of moderation is available. Those not steadfast with Bi will then come for Bi; afterward those above and below correlate with one another. It is ominous for one to come late, as it is destitute of the norm of Bi.
The intimate and interdependent relationship has a critical and long-lasting effect on the future; people must be judicious in selecting their partners. Therefore divination must be done twice, i.e. very prudently, and the relationship must stem from goodness, be enduring and persist with righteousness.
Line 5, the host line of hexagram Bi at the king's position, is the only masculine line and calls for intimate interdependence. All five feminine lines are designated to submit to it and respond to its call. As it is firm and moderate, stays at its right position (i.e. acts righteously) and represents the upper trigram Kan, sincerity and trust, the intimate interdependence can be free from fault or calamity.
元永貞 (origination, to be everlasting, and persistence) are also regarded as virtues that a leader must possess. According to Confucius's paraphrasing, 元yuan1 (origination) means the fountain of goodness, i.e. benevolence, and 貞zhen1 (to persist in righteousness) is the principle regarding work, while 永yong3 signifies to be consistent and last to the end.
In the time of hexagram Bi the one above correlates with the one below, as the upper trigram Kan is in correlation with the lower trigram Kun1 through lines 5 and 2. It is ominous for those who are not steadfast with interdependence and arrive late. The king summons the dukes; the one who hesitates and arrives late will be attacked as his submission is in doubt. In the dynasty of Xia (夏), it is said that once ruler Yu the Great (大禹) summoned all the tribal leaders for a summit on Mt. Gui Ji (會稽山). The leader of the Fang Feng (防風) clan came late and received the death penalty.
Commentary on the image: water on earth: Bi. The late king, in accordance with this, established hundreds of ducal states yet maintained intimacy with those dukes.
The late king realised that water flowing freely on the ground will converge into a river eventually. Therefore, although he established hundreds of ducal states and offered those to people who had achieved merit in hexagram Shi (7), he maintained intimate and interdependent relations with them.
Intimate and interdependent relationships can refer to a coalition party or diplomatic alliance, in terms of mutual assistance. To ally is auspicious, but it must be done very prudently, such as divining twice to determine the root cause. The alliance requires benevolence (元), persistence in righteousness (貞), and consistency to the end (永). These are the virtues that a leader must possess. Or, the alliance requires persisting (貞) from the beginning (元) to the end (永); then it can be free from calamity. Therefore the relation must be established on the basis that those below are submissive and those above are sincere and trustworthy. The upper trigram Kan denotes sincerity and trust but also peril. In a world where those above and below ally with one another, tardiness is ominous for those who are not steadfast with Bi and hesitate to become interdependent.
A country is established through force of power, as indicated in hexagram 7, Shi. Thereafter the posts of duke are conferred on those who have merit. However, hundreds of dukedoms are established in order to dilute the power of each duke. Hexagram Bi is to maintain close relations with each one to consolidate the central regime. Hexagram Shi is military action, while hexagram Bi represents diplomatic measures.
Bi possesses and emphasises two of the most important virtues: origination (i.e. a prudent and sincere start) and everlasting persistence (i.e. an everlasting relationship).
The changing hexagram is Da You (14), abundant possessions, which is attained through intimate and interdependent cooperation.
Line 5 is the representative line and the host line as well; it is the line sought by all the feminine lines for an intimate and interdependent relationship.
An intimate and interdependent relationship is created through friendly interaction with line 5. For example, line 2 correlates with it and line 4 sustains it. Line 6 rides over it and it is the last one to appear seeking interdependence, which is ominous. Line 3 has no access to line 5, so it might be hurt due to interdependence with the wrong partner. Line 1 is at the beginning and far from line 5; it needs to build credit first.
Sincerity and trust are the most important factors needed to establish an intimate and interdependent relationship. The relation must be established correctly internally and externally. Each are equally important. One might survive and learn from an incorrect internal partnership, but will fail entirely if the right time is missed to establish a correct intimate and interdependent relationship externally.
Text: 有孚比之(third person, objective case: them, i.e. sincerity and trust)，无咎。有孚盈(brim)缶(earthenware pot)，終(at last)來(come)有(there be)他(other)吉(auspiciousness)。
Sincerity and trust are that which the subject should build intimate interdependence (Bi) with, which causes no fault (or calamity). Sincerity and trust brim a pot; at last there comes another auspiciousness.
The upper trigram Kan is a solid line between two tender feminine lines, like a reliable heart that possesses sincerity and trust. Line 5 is its representative line, the one with which line 1 intends to build an intimate and interdependent relationship. There is no fault or calamity in seeking sincerity and trust, and a relationship established on them won't cause any fault and calamity.
On the condition that line 1 needs to be interdependent with line 5 (by means of correlation), line 2 must change to masculine and exchange positions with line 1. When line 2 changes to masculine, the lower trigram becomes Kan and exhibits sincerity and trust. Afterward line 1 can be in correlation with line 5 by exchanging positions with line 2, and the lower trigram changes to Zhen (to move, thunder) which represents a ritual vessel. In combination with the inner lower trigram Kun1 (earth), it can be regarded as an earthenware pot. Although it appears plain, it is full of water from the upper trigram Kan, as if brimming with sincerity and trust.
Line 1 at the beginning phase of hexagram Bi is like a person newly introduced into the society of intimate interdependence, but without credit. What he needs to do is build sincerity and trust, which is a long process. It progresses gradually, from his neighbourhood (line 2), to his town (the lower trigram), and then to the king (line 5). Therefore line 1 must approach line 2 with sincerity and trust so that line 2 will respond with sincerity and trust in turn. By changing line 2 to masculine, the lower trigram becomes Kan and then it can reach the palace (position 5, the target of intimate interdependence and a place of sincerity and trust). In the process, sincerity and trust accrue more and more, which is another form of good fortune.
Commentary on the image: The first line of Bi (intimate interdependence) has another auspiciousness.
Enlightenment through six one: to build credit. Sincerity and trust are the first important attributes for establishing an intimate and interdependent relationship, particularly at the beginning stage or for a newcomer. To build the relationship on sincerity and trust is free of fault and can secure freedom from calamity for future cooperation. The newcomer, like an earthenware pot with a plain appearance, must build sincerity and trust to enrich himself as if to fill the pot. The relation will be established once he is recognised. The sincerity and trust which accrue in the process are another benefit. If this line acts accordingly, the hexagram will appear as Zhun (3), difficult to initiate, when it changes to masculine. Here it is advised to engage itself in the fundamental works for the assigned mission.
The 2nd line
Text: 比之(third person, objective case, i.e. line 5)自(from)內(interior)，貞吉。
Bi (building intimate interdependence) with ally (i.e. line 5) originates from the interior; to persist is auspicious.
Line 2, which correlates with line 5, stays in the internal trigram suggesting that this intimate interdependence with line 5 comes from the interior, which can mean from the heart or of one's own volition. Line 2 is at the position right to it and in correlation with line 5; thus it is auspicious to persist in maintaining this relationship in a heartfelt manner and of one's own accord.
Compared with line 5, the text can be also understood as: to persist in internal solidarity is auspicious.
Commentary on the image: Bi (building intimate interdependence) originates from the interior; it does not lose itself.
Line 2 is in the middle of the lower trigram Kun1 and represents Kun1, signifying that it is submissive but moderate; thus it won't lose its ground, even in an approach of the one below toward the one above.
Enlightenment through six two: be heartfelt and maintain one's ego to make friends. When this line is triggered to move toward masculinity and transforming along the way, it signifies that the established intimate and interdependent relationship is heartfelt and of one’s own volition, i.e. it is done submissively but moderately; thus one won’t lose one’s ground. To persist is auspicious. Should this line change its attitude becoming masculine, i.e. not act righteously and loss correlation with line 5, the hexagram would become Repeated Kan (29), multiple peril.
The 3rd line
Text: 比之(an expletive)匪(bad, not, bandit)人。
The subject is in a state of Bi (building intimate interdependence) with a wrong person (i.e. line 6).
The one to be intimate and interdependent with is not the right partner.
Feminine line 3 has no access to reach line 5, but is in a position to correlate with line 6 if it changes to masculine. Line 6 is the one arriving late for the king’s summons (see line 6); therefore it is the wrong one to be with.
When the text contains no judgement, it usually means that it can bring either good or bad fortune, depending on how the line performs. Here it would depend on line 3 correlating with line 6 or not. According to the commentary on the image below, there is the possibility of getting hurt.
Commentary on the image: Line 3 is in a state of Bi (building intimate interdependence) with a wrong person. Won’t it be hurt?
Enlightenment through six three: be prudent in selecting a partner. When this line is triggered to move, it signifies intimate interdependence with the wrong person, and the risk of getting hurt. If this line acts willfully and changes to masculine, the hexagram will appear in the form of Jian3 (39), difficulty (in proceeding), i.e. a troublesome and dangerous plight, wherein line 3 is advised to remain still and reflect on itself.
The 4th line
The subject is in a state of outward Bi (building intimate interdependence) with ally (i.e. line 5); to persist is auspicious.
Both lines 4 and 5 stay in the external trigram. Line 4 sustains line 5, signifying it leaves the internal trigram and seeks an intimate and interdependent relationship outside. Both stay at their right positions, and therefore act righteously. Persisting in maintaining this relationship is auspicious.
Commentary on the image: Line 4 is in a state of outward Bi (building intimate interdependence) with one of great virtue, signifying to follow one in the position above and develop upward.
In addition to the right position, line 5, which is above, also occupies the middle position of the upper trigram Kan, which signifies that it possesses the principle of moderation and acts sincerely in a trustworthy manner as well.
Enlightenment through six four: to seek an alliance or unite the external forces. To build an intimate and interdependent relationship outside means to establish a partnership with a foreign party. This relationship must be established with one who is virtuous, and who can drive both parties upward; this is auspicious and requires persistence. Should this line not abide by the advice and change to masculine, the hexagram would become Cui (45), to gather together, where two forces form and complete. This will lead to turbulence.
The 5th line
Text: 顯比。王用三驅，失前禽(birds and animals)，邑人不誡，吉。
The subject is in a state of manifesting Bi (intimate interdependence). The king (王) makes use of (用) surrounding game on three (三) sides to drive (驅) it; although he loses (失) the front (前) game (禽) (i.e. lets it flee for its life), the residents of his towns (邑人) will not (不) warn one another against (誡) intimate interdependence; this is of auspiciousness.
The king goes hunting and surrounds game in three directions but leaves the front open so the game may have the opportunity to flee for its life. This means that people seeking intimate interdependence are free to leave. This is the virtue that a king must possess.
The inner upper trigram Gen (keeping still, the mountain) looks like a hand, while the lower and the inner lower trigrams (both Kun1) represent animals as Kun1 denotes cattle; the animals are surrounded but those outside Gen are free to leave.
Commentary on the image: The auspiciousness of manifesting Bi (intimate interdependence), which is because the position where it stays is the middle and right one. The king ought to desert those who are resistant and accept those who are submissive; to have one side open in order to let game flee. The residents of his towns won't warn one another against intimate interdependence, as the one above acts moderately.
All the feminine lines approach line 5 for an intimate and interdependent relationship. It behaves righteously and moderately, as well as sincerely in a trustworthy manner. Therefore it accepts only those who are willing to come for intimate interdependence and frees those who are not.
Enlightenment through nine five: to recruit or ally with an open mind. Radiate the norm of intimate interdependence, like the king accepting only those who are seeking intimate interdependence and freeing those who are not. Because of that, people aren't afraid to be intimate and interdependent with him. This is auspicious, as the hexagram becomes Kun1 (2) which accommodate all creatures with a breadth of virtue, when this line is fully activated.
The 6th line
Text: 比之无首(head; it here refers to things which are first or highest, original or earliest)，凶。
Bi (building intimate interdependence) with ally (i.e. line 5) is not in the lead; this is an ominous omen.
Line 6 is the last line, i.e. the last to be intimate and interdependent with line 5. It is the duke who is summoned by the king but arrives late.
Not only has it missed the right time, it also rides on line 5. Feminine riding over masculine is seen as inferiority oppressing superiority, which is ominous.
Commentary on the image: Bi (building intimate interdependence) is not in the lead; this will result in no desired goal in the end.
It is important to establish an intimate and interdependent relationship at the right time; otherwise it will lose its desired goal, or it won’t end well.
Enlightenment through six six: to act at the right time. It doesn’t initiate intimate interdependence at the right time and loses the opportunity in the end; this is ominous. The hexagram that forms when this line ends up as masculine is Guan (20), to observe, where those above presents a model for those below to follow. This signifies that line 6, as a result of its behaviour, is punished (like the leader of the Fang Feng) to set an example and warn others.